William Gladstone library plans more bedrooms for visitors

William Gladstone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption William Gladstone served four separate terms as prime minister between 1868 and 1894

A library founded by 19th Century Prime Minister William Gladstone could get more accommodation under new plans.

Gladstone's in Hawarden, Flintshire, is the UK's only residential research library and currently has 26 bedrooms.

Trustees want to convert a Grade II-listed former school hall into six guest bedrooms with a communal study and quiet areas.

Flintshire County Council aims to make a decision on the proposals by early August.

Stephen Gladstone Hall, built in 1875, was previously part of Hawarden Infants' School, but has been used more recently as a church hall and for book storage.

Image copyright Ainsley Gommon Architects
Image caption The plan would bring the former school hall back into regular use

Ainsley Gommon Architects, acting on behalf of the library's trustees, said: "The proposal will give much-needed additional accommodation for guests of Gladstone's Library and provide a sustainable and inventive reuse of a redundant Grade II-listed building."

Originally known as St Deiniol's, the library was founded in 1895 by Gladstone, a Liberal who led the UK for 12 years between 1868 and 1894.

The only person to serve four terms as prime minister, he lived at nearby Hawarden Castle in his later years.

Gladstone donated £40,000 and the majority of his own collection of 32,000 books to set up the library.

As well as his own collection, the library contains more than 150,000 other books, journals and pamphlets.

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